Iron is a mineral that many people hear a lot and plays a vital role in our body. A shortage of iron in our blood can lead to serious health problems, including anemia. Iron is basically the vitamin used to move oxygen around the blood and perform other processes in the body.
However, it’s also a vitamin that many Americans lack – around 10 million have low iron levels, and 5 million of them have been diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia. 
Fortunately, because iron is an essential vitamin, there are many foods that contain iron. In addition, you can turn to iron supplements which can also give you a significant increase in iron content.
Good Food Sources of Iron
According to Medical News Today, men only need 8 mg of iron per day, while women need 8 to 18 mg. Now when you consider the various foods available that are high in iron, it doesn’t sound like a lot. Certain foods in particular can even provide you with the excess iron that you will need for the day in one sitting.
Some food options include:
- Canned Clams – 3 ounces provides 26 mg of iron.
- Fortified Cereal Oats – 100 grams provides approximately 25 mg.
- White beans – one cup gives 21 mg.
- Dark chocolate (45-69% cocoa) – a single bar gives 13 mg.
- Pacific Oysters (cooked) – 3 ounces makes about 8 mg.
- Spinach (cooked) – one cup makes 6.5 mg.
But while these are good options, iron supplements are another important consideration. The advantage of consuming iron supplements is that they still provide you with your daily iron intake while also covering other vitamins. Plus, it takes a lot of guesswork out of what you need to get your needed iron intake for the day.
Benefits of Iron Supplements
Iron supports many of our vital functions in our bodies, including things like general energy, focus, the immune system, and body temperature regulation. And one of the best ways to make sure you get these benefits is to use the various supplements available.
Below are 4 key benefits of iron supplements, let’s read.
As we know, iron is a good source of energy. In addition, a lack of energy can make you lose your focus, become more irritable, and lacking stamina. You can avoid all this by taking iron supplements to increase the amount of iron in your body and, therefore, improve your energy level.
2. Boost Hemoglobin
Iron transports oxygen in the blood. It does this by forming what is called hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells. Hemoglobin is crucial because blood loss can occur in many ways beyond a simple injury. For example, every month, women lose blood during menstrual cycles. This is why anemia is more severe in women, as they naturally need more iron in their bodies due to blood loss.
3. Boost Athletic Performance
Another key role of iron is to circulate oxygen in your blood and keep everything functional. A lack of iron will lead to muscle fatigue and reduced athletic performance. Even if you don’t intend to run marathons or perform physically demanding tasks, iron improves your endurance and therefore your muscles.
This is important because one of the most common links with anemia is muscle weakness. Also, as your muscles will be stronger, it will reduce the risk of inflaming your tissues and causing pain in your body during exercise.
4. Reduce Bruising
Similar to muscle weakness, people who bruise easily might also suffer from low iron. Bruising happens when your internal coagulation system isn’t working as expected. The function of this system is due to hemoglobin which affects the production and function of platelets – the cells that control blood clotting in the first place.
If you are someone who bruises frequently, supplementing with iron can be very helpful as it will give you the necessary iron intake that you will need to stop it.